Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) shareholders have endured a 30% loss from investing in the stock a year ago

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Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. When you buy individual stocks, you can make higher profits, but you also face the risk of under-performance. For example, the Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF) share price is down 31% in the last year. That’s disappointing when you consider the market declined 16%. On the other hand, the stock is actually up 19% over three years. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 18% in the last three months. Of course, this share price action may well have been influenced by the 13% decline in the broader market, throughout the period.

Since shareholders are down over the longer term, lets look at the underlying fundamentals over the that time and see if they’ve been consistent with returns.

Check out our latest analysis for Capital One Financial

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

Even though the Capital One Financial share price is down over the year, its EPS actually improved. Of course, the situation might betray previous over-optimism about growth.

It’s surprising to see the share price fall so much, despite the improved EPS. But we might find some different metrics explain the share price movements better.

Capital One Financial’s revenue is actually up 31% over the last year. Since we can’t easily explain the share price movement based on these metrics, it might be worth considering how market sentiment has changed towards the stock.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-and-revenue-growth

Capital One Financial is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 16% in the twelve months, Capital One Financial shareholders did even worse, losing 30% (even including dividends). However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there’s a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 6%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should learn about the 3 warning signs we’ve spotted with Capital One Financial (including 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) .

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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